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McIlroy plays off the fifth tee last night.
McIlroy plays off the fifth tee last night.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

Rory McIlroy four shots off the lead at Farmers Insurance Open

The Ulsterman shot finished on four under after the opening round at Torres Pines.
Jan 29th 2021, 9:03 AM 2,149 1

RORY MCILROY IS in the mix after Round 1 of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, even if he is placed 21st on the leaderboard.

The event uses two different golf courses, and yesterday the North Course played much easier than the South Course, and given that McIlroy was on the tougher of the two courses yesterday, his score of 68 is considerably better than it looks.

Leaders Patrick Reed and Alex Noren both played the North Course – where the scoring average was 69.4 yesterday. 

McIlroy played superbly off the tee and also hit 17 of the 18 greens. His putting was consistent but his wedge play was not. Given the quirks of this event, if he gets a good day on the easier of the two courses, then he could be in contention on Sunday.

McIlroy’s 4-under 68  came on a day where the 2021 U.S. Open venue averaged 73.167 on the South Course, considerably tougher than the North Course.

“It’s sort of weird to say, but I almost have better performances with greens in reg when they’re smaller greens because you can just be very comfortable hitting to the middles of greens all the time and not feeling like you’re having to take on pins,” McIlroy explained.

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“It stops me from being my aggressive self a little bit, which is sometimes a good thing.”

McIlroy came into the tournament after a third-place finish on the European Tour last week where he failed to close out a 54-hole lead.
“I got off to a great start, 4 under through nine. A little disappointed I didn’t pick up a couple more on the way in, especially with the two par 5s … but anytime you shoot 68 on the South Course here you’ve got to be pretty happy.

“I’m really happy with how I drove the ball today, hit some good iron shots, and I think going from Bermuda greens last week in Abu Dhabi straight to poa here, it’s a bit of an adjustment. So, to get on those bent greens on the North tomorrow, I may find that a little easier.”

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